Anger management seems to be one of the biggest issues that arise when we become parents.
Mums and dads are at a loss as to why they continue to let their children rile them up. “I can’t believe I’m fighting with a two-year old”. “They should just listen to me. I wouldn’t dare talk back to my parents.”
LOGICALLY we all know not to yell at our kids. We know (or at least can guess) the possible impact this can have on their self-esteem, their confidence and a myriad of other things we fear we may pass on.
But why, if we know not to do it, does it still consume us and send us in the complete opposite direction of where we want to be?
The answer is, how you are perceiving the event.
It actually has nothing to do with your child’s behaviour. Because if it was your child’s behaviour making you angry, then that would mean that ALL parents would get angry over that behaviour. So it can’t be your child’s behaviour.
Your child’s behaviour just triggers your beliefs.
For anger to occur, you first would have had a picture (belief) in your mind of how you expected things to be. This can come from either strong beliefs about how your life should look or an expectation of how you thought things would happen (eg – I asked my child to do something and I had the picture in my mind that they would do it).
However, the reality is, your picture has changed from your expectations. It just didn’t play out. But in your mind you are still attached to that picture.
Your mind is in conflict with reality
The first step to eliminating anger, is to bring your attention back to reality. Guess what? IT HAPPENED. The past is gone. Right now is all you ever have. The past doesn’t exist until you create it in your mind in the present moment.
The more you roll around in a story about the past – how it shouldn’t have happened, that because it happened you are going to miss out on something, that your child should have done something different and how this has impacted you or your life, the more you will remain stuck in stress and anger.
Sometimes it’s not the past, but a fear about the future. I have to get the house clean. I have to get that status recognised. I MUST have respect or acknowledgement, or I MUST get life to be a certain way. I MUST reach that goal that I set. Otherwise I feel POWERLESS.
Anger can be all about feeling power-less which is a form of anxiety – a fear that your life might not get to the potential you believe it should reach. Because you have your beliefs so heavily attached to your picture of this ‘right life’, you attempt to micromanage your life.
You go into surveillance mode. You look for any potential threat that might jeopardise your goal of reaching your ‘right life’ (and whatever that entails) and when you find this threat in the actions of someone near and dear to you, you let lose. Really, it’s an attempt to regain the power you feel you lost over your life.
Every time you have a thought, you create a chemical response in the body. That chemical response in the context of this article, is what you have come to know of as anger.
When you learn to change how you think about life, you will change how you feel about it. That is what The Parental Stress Centre focuses on teaching parents.
The reality of being a parent is that your ‘pictures’ WILL be different….A LOT. Sometimes you will get things to go the way you want and sometimes you won’t. Actually a lot of the time you won’t.
This is because you are dealing with another human being with wants, needs, perceptions of life and personality too. They are learning how to be in this world, learning what to do, what not to do, learning social etiquette, respect, morals, values and life skills.
You have mostly already learnt these skills and you are viewing life through YOUR lens and expecting things to go the way your adult mind expects them. But this is not often reality.
If you want to stop your anger, you must change the way you think about the challenges you face as a parent. You must change the way you respond to life not going to your plan. Because the reality is, your picture is going to change now that you’re a parent…..a lot.
It’s highly likely that before children you were probably quite successful at getting life to go your way, or at least were able to walk away, take a break or gain some space from the people and circumstances that used to cause you stress pre-children.
However, that’s not always possible with children (especially when they are young).
So if you can’t just walk away and you don’t want to continue feeling and reacting in an angry way, there is only one thing you can do – Change how you think about the situation.
And that’s EXACTLY what we will teach you to do when you join our Tame Your Temper Challenge.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Understanding that all stress is a conflict between what I’m thinking and reality
- Identify the four views on life that cause all stress and anger
- What are you really trying to control and why is it so important that you control it?
- Use our reality thinking wheel to help you to be able to diffuse your anger-inducing thinking
- Learn to accept the reality of the situation, the reality of being a parent, the reality of life and the reality of self-worth
- How to focus on what you want in this moment!
- What is your goal for the situation and for being a parent?
- What is the ideal of this situation?
- How to diffuse your anger using practical in-the-moment tips for when you feel your anger has already arrived.
- An understanding of why LOGICALLY wanting to be calm is not enough
- How to break the habit to yell
- Recognise your triggers and create a contingency plan to avoid them or deal with them
- Create a plan for how to avoid angry reactions when faced with surprise or unexpected situations
- How to deal with the actual problem
As you can see this program is jam packed with loads of information that will get you moving towards the calmer, happier parent you want to be. So if you’re read to make changes, you can find out more here. What’s more is that as part of your registration you will get access to the recording of the presentation for you to keep forever! So if you can’t make it or want to remind yourself of the information, you have it there at your convenience.
For those who don’t want to participate, simply try this:
Next time you find yourself getting angry, stop yourself dead in your tracks and say to yourself:
“[your name] you are in conflict with reality.”
This may just be enough to bring you back into the present moment, to stop rolling around in your story about how it should have been different and to free your attention up to start looking for what you’re now going to do with this new, unwanted reality.